* Charles Sousa is former RBC banker, cabinet minister
* Seen sticking with 2017-18 target for balanced budget
* Swearing-in ceremony at 3 pm ET on Monday
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Feb 11 Ontario's incoming Liberal
premier Kathleen Wynne has chosen former banker and cabinet
minister Charles Sousa to become the province's next finance
minister, according to media reports.
Wynne's office declined to confirm the reports and said the
official announcement would not be made until later on Monday.
But the selection of her former leadership rival Sousa for
the high-profile portfolio was widely expected, especially after
Sousa endorsed Wynne at the party's leadership convention last
Wynne, who will be sworn in to replace Dalton McGuinty
around 3 p.m. (2000 GMT), is set to become Ontario's first
female leader, and the country's first openly gay premier.
Sousa worked at the Royal Bank of Canada for more
than 20 years before entering politics. He served under McGuinty
as the provincial minister of immigration. He also held the
labor portfolio and was the minister in charge of the 2015 Pan
The new finance minister is expected to stick to the
government's existing budget plan, designed to eliminate the
province's deficit by the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Sousa, 54, replaces Dwight Duncan, the former deputy premier
who has been finance minister for the last seven years.
Sousa's first major challenges will be crafting the upcoming
2013-14 budget - expected in the spring - and getting it passed
through the minority legislature.
The centrist Liberals need support from at least one of the
opposition parties, the left-leaning New Democrats or the
right-wing Conservatives, in order to avoid a snap election and
stay in power.
The Liberals said last month they expect an C$11.9 billion
($11.88 billion) budget deficit in 2012-13. The province has
been under pressure from ratings agencies and was downgraded by
Moody's last year.
The government responded with a pledge to curb spending
growth, which has led to conflicts with teachers and other
unionized workers in the province.
Ontario accounts for roughly 40 percent of Canadian gross
domestic product and is among the largest sub-national borrowers
in the world, issuing bonds worth nearly C$35 billion in 2012.